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November 30, 2006

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You speak knowledgeably, passionately, and with great honesty. I don't see you having a future in philanthropy.

You know, she could have joined the comments. I thought it was a pretty interesting dialog.

Collegial, huh? Seems downright snooty.

C'mon over to the Dumpster, girlie, if you're not too askeert of us lowlifes. Some of us have even bin to kollege. Who knows? We might teach you a thing or two about how to be truly gracious and charitable. If you come, I'll promise not to swear too terribly much, and I'll slather the joint down in Pine-Sol. I just love me some pine scent, don't you? Better than that fou-fou lemon fresh smell. Pew. If I wanted that, I'd douse myself in Countrytime Lemonade.

Equality of irreverence for all.

Yessiree, bob. If Miz Berholz were to stay for a spell, mebbe we could apply for of them there FEMA trailers so as to make her stay more comfy. Been over a year since Katrina, so I reckon they could spare us one, dontcha think? I hear tell that they are real cozy and truly modern. Why, they've got indoor plumbing and everything.

Lucy is a natural ally of the Dumpster Tong. Everyone I know in philanthropy speaks highly of her. Her book on Philanthropic Capital Markets is a leader in its category. Peter Karoff included an essay from her in his book. She is an ally of Changemakers, I believe, a progressive funding hub established by Tracy Gary. and Tracy speaks highly of her.

I am making something out of nothing, just for the sake of making points about the manners and mores of philanthropy. I appreciate her patience in enduring this banter.

We are just following your lead, Tutor. She did sound a little indignant that we are talking about her here. It's that same old pattern, does the target pass by in silence or laugh along. It would be far more fun if she takes the second course.

Come on, Lucy, comment away. Put on your mask if you must. We're lonely by the dumpster, and want more company be they meak or otherwise.

"Community Hidden in Plain Sight," Lohman had it right.

Another scam artist, if you ask me. Many people spoke highly of Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling, and they claimed to have made markets in all sorts of things.

When you bury your dead, you'll piss off the vultures. When you care for your sick, you'll piss off the vultures. When you tell them to shoo! you're pissing off the vultures. When a vulture leaves you alone, you're doing something right.

You would come closer to getting the real issue, the poignant issue, if you considered why we ourselves blog behind masks, or speak in parables, or put up and pull down posts, or why we dodge from site to site. Why? If you got at the sociology and psychology of that, from the inside out, you could appreciate better why Lucy would not want to be caught dead in Wealth Bondage. She has children. And she would lose stature, credibility, and clients if she was known to consort with the likes of us. That is just a truth. Is it worth throwing away all you have worked for just for a few mirthful minutes with the foolish ones in the Dumpster? Of course not. Better to pass over the unspeakable in silence. "Of the Happy Tutor, we do not speak. The less said about him the better. Wealth Bondage is in the worst possible taste."

I have another philanthropic consulting friend, who harbors any number of irreverent views who has said of her increasingly prominent philanthropy site, "There is no way I can link to Wealth Bondage." It would jeopardize her credibility with the wealthy business people who are her allies and her funders.

Yet she links to GH, emails me, asks me for my professional opinion on things, introduces me to her friends.

You get the sense we are hidden in plain sight?

I get the sense you folks are scared. I'm scared too, which is why the LJ is so locked down—although it doesn't have to do with career, which likely makes me truly craven, but there it is.

But what you philanthropy people are doing—have to be doing?—in your work is maintain the illusion that you're doing good when what you're really doing is providing a certain type of investment/tax shelter service. I'm not saying what I do for a living is pure and nice and good; the last software firm I worked for probably caused several deaths because a large city was silly enough to make our product part of their 911 system. But at least I don't have to say to myself, "I'm doing good," or even, "I could be doing good." I'm earning my living and getting my health insurance. We are all whores in Wealth Bondage.

Frankly, I don't know how you can do it. I'd snap and run naked through the halls. And sure, Lucy Bernholz would lose a lot from associating with you. But she's not just somebody doing infrastructure consulting for philanthropies and non-profits, <sarcasm>she's a goddamn visionary with an idea for introducing market mechanisms into your industry.</sarcasm> Yes, I read the introduction to her book, and although I didn't know it at the time, but the comparison to Lay and Skilling was exactly right. She is hawking a dreadful, inefficient, immoral notion. Markets in the sense we talk about them today are a relatively recent addition to our lives. People traded, sure, but the agora wasn't the floor of the NYSE. I say the history of markets as we know them today is always also the history of market failure. Why would you want to introduce such a horrible mechanism into an already questionable trade? But it seems Lucy Bernholz wants to do just that. That's not getting by and keep the kids in new clothes, that's ambition, greed, and who gives a fuck if people get hurt. You were right the first time, cher maître.

Naivete, and American upbeat opportunism, also a chance to play teacher to her more tradition-bound confreres. Market logic is all the rage among donors. It is fashionable to talk of "investing" instead of giving. And in some sense there must be something like a philanthropic capital market since money finds projects, which is sort of like a market, and many of the players are companies these days, and entrepreneurs. If the whole point of giving gets lost in the process, if the spirit of giving gets lost, and a sense of public goods,that may not be captured in our metrics of who moved how much money where. I suspect that Lucy could be reached with such considerations. The question is whether her lectures could become become discussions, and whether you or I would be invited, or invited back, or even countenanced, unless we were respectful of the bullshit premise, the whole "market for philanthropy" conceit.

How can I live with myself? Et., I can't, don't you see? How do you think I got multiple personalities in the first place? I had to create a whole fictional world to pantomime the bordello, The Balcony, that is organized philanthropy. I had to escape my reality into a Bordello-Fantasy of integrity.

Not to say I don't enjoy the work, I do, as maybe does many a doxy. Have you ever counseled inmates in a prison or aslyum? Satisfying work. Likewise philanthropic consulting.

Philanthropy has been famously called, "America's passing gear." It could also be called the oil that keeps the engine from seizing up at high speed. So, I add a couple of quarts. Is that so bad?

"Reputation, reputation, reputation. I have lost my reputation, Iago, and all that remains is bestial." Ah, yes, even the Dumpster niggah has a more literate moment. It's concern about reputation that's bestial, not the reputation in and of itself. Image is everything. Why the hell is that? If these women were really your friends, they would come around, even in a mask, instead of hiding behind their precious little reputations. You think I don't know about reputations, but I do. Mine has been trashed and tarnished several times over. Come closer. I'll show you all my emotional scars from all the knives plunged into my back. No, HT, I do NOT understand this overriding concern. I do not have patience with people who cower behind skirts. Do these women even deign to lurk here? This is so divisive. There has to be a way past, "I like you, but I cannot be seen with you." Oh, I could just say, "their loss," and console myself with once again being on the outside, but, truthfully, it's a loss on both sides. I am tired, HT. Tired of chasing people, yanking their sleeves and pleading, "look how much I have to offer." This kind of loss is two ways. I lose out on what they have to say. I won't read their blogs because I won't go where I am not truly welcome. People make assumptions about us. Can't help that. But you cannot hope to change someone's mind if they don't even stick a foot in the door.

No, it goes like this, "Tutor, I am not offended, in fact, I applaud your efforts, up to a point, but some of my colleagues, and constituents might be offended. In fact I am sure some would be. Not that I am offended, but I do not want to inadvertently upset my boss, and our board, and our funders." See?

Please also understand that I am not concerned about this taboo. Without it, WB would be without purpose. To do away with taboo would be like the end of Prohibition for Al Capone, it would put me out of business. No taboo, no scandal.

This is what being hidden in plain site is all about. Like the torture chambers. Like our loss of constitutional liberties. All is hidden in plain sight - too obscene to see, to mention, to discuss in polite company. To be hidden in plain site is to have the ring of Gyges conferring invisibility. Works for me.

Wouldn't it be great if we could put you out of business? End all the duplicity? What utter hogwash. I find this all so despicable. Because of the lack of opportunity for interaction, we all lose out. Hiding in plain sight... How can we bridge gaps if these women won't even take a step inside the door? Pass the Thunderbird. I think I am now thoroughly depressed.

Hiding in plain sight is a way of life for many groups, or latent groups. Women's issues a generation or two ago defined such a latent group who ventured into the public world on terms other than their own, and who could rise only by thinking of themselves and each other as they were thought of by the dominant group. To come out of hiding prematurely and disorganized is a foolish play. It does not change the rules of the game, the distribution of power, the consequences for insubordination. What Uncle Remus and all Trickster tales teach us is that this is not about foolish courage and self-sacrifice but about working the margins, token victories, cunning, staying out of sight, creating a new underground culture, and leading a parallel life outside the public transcript. That is how the social conservatives responded to MLK and and LBJ, they went into the wilderness as a saving remnant (their phrase) and created counter stories and counter institutions until the they had critical mass. There are plenty of women in the progressive movement, some of them good friends of mine, and many in leadership roles. WB may not be their preferred forum. What matters is that we have a network of forums, and that each is connected to many others. We all need a comfortable hangout, out of the public eye. If WB can be one such, and connected to many others, it will have played its role as a node.

How do you think I got multiple personalities in the first place? I had to create a whole fictional world to pantomime the bordello, The Balcony, that is organized philanthropy. I had to escape my reality into a Bordello-Fantasy of integrity.

Pardon me, but what in God's name are you talking about? Is there really a Lucy?
How are people supposed to know what is real or not in here if you always go back to talking about making things up?

This blog is so confusing.
I'm sorry but it is hard to keep track of what is real, is there really a Lucy? ANd if so, what did she do? Or not do?
If you don't mind me asking.

HT, I am surprised at you. Coming out of hiding prematurely? The women's movement was thirty years ago. Isn't it time that the women who have made it would turn to help their fellow women up the ladder instead of knocking them into the gutter? The whole situation smacks of "Got mine and the hell with you." Women oppress other women even worse than men ever did. Reminiscent of blacks who made it out of the ghetto and who speak contemptuously of those who are still there. Reminiscent, too, of German Jews who were ashamed of the Slavic Jews who followed them. Shame. Hypocrisy. Duplicity.

I may be just a pig in a petticoat, but at least I am not stepping on the hand on the ladder rung just below mine. This "I've got mine and the hell with you" mentality has got to stop. Or, at the very least, ladies, if you're gonna kick me to the gutter, have the decency to look me in the eye first before you stomp on me with your stiletto heel.

Or, if someone would be so kind, at least give me a map to the undeground culture. I have no idea where to find it. I am fucking sick and tired of being left behind.

Lucy Bernholz, look her up in Google. She is the Lucy discussed here. Meanwhile, dip into Tristram Shandy or the Tale of a Tub. Being hard to understand is essential to the genre in which WB participates. What can be said plainly, must be said briefly for the one with a noose about his neck. If you wish to write well and long, better to write a cock and bull story.

You can write about how women treat women, Debbie, for me it would be like butting into someone else's fight. Too few who make it, from any subordinate group, "send the elevator back down" for the others. But they would say, "No one did it for me. I made it on my own, let others do the same." So hardship breeds hard hearts.

How terrible then that women who have made it don't demonstrate more generosity of spirit. That hardheadedness is very unbecoming. We need more Mary Magdalenes and less Margarets. Women need to nurture other women.


Someone else's fight, Tutor? That kind of mentality is how we perpetuate injustices. That kind of mentality is how people get "disappeared" and people ask what happened and then shrug their shoulders and continue about their business. That's how people end up in work camps. That's how people end up in gas chambers. Someone else's fight until it somehow affects you. Remaining silent is how abuses of power are perpetuated.

Oh, hell. Meant Marthas. Not Margarets. That's what happens when I don't grow up knowing the Greek Bible.

What I meant was that I can't speak for women's experience, neither those who have made it or those who feel pushed by down by other women. Whatever I say would put me in the crossfire. Anything I contribute would be taken as "insensitive," etc. and held against me. I present myself here as a happily married gay man. Maybe I should have impersonated a subordinate woman in corporate hierarchy, or a stay at home mother? That body of experience is just not close enough for me to pantomime it without being presumptuous. Women have made a battle zone of their gender roles. You fight it out for yourselves and let me know what the rules are. For me, you are mainly people, a diverse lot. I wish more came by here, and am glad you do.

Sheesh. What a cop out. No, I don't expect you to impersonate a woman, but you do have a lifetime of experiences and observations to draw on. And I know you are capable of learning. Besides, not being a man doesn't prevent me from expressing my opinions of your gender, so why wouldn't be opposite hold true for you, too? Or maybe I should worry more about how I'm perceived? No doubt you've observed women in the workplace. You could be invisible, too, since women tend to trust you. But invisible in the best sense. The way to best observe.

The rules... you think I know any more than you do? I don't compete well, for starters. That probably already nips my great career in the bud before it's begun. Honestly, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I had aspirations for being a career woman. I was a card carrying NOW member. I wasn't gonna be one of "those" women, a stay at home mom. Years later and, oh, the irony is just too rich. I was gonna be in academe. Like Tolkien and CS Lewis, I was gonna be a medievalist and a novelist. Or write plays like Stoppard. Go on book tours. Have a lot of lovers. Be on talk shows. I wasn't dreaming about power. Just a life that was out of the ordinary and fulfilling. Not that I have a bad life. I don't. Maybe I needed to plan things better. Some people seem to have an entire life plan. They know exactly what they're gonna do, and some of them map things out so exactly that they actually do succeed. At least on paper. I have no idea what their interior is like.

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